THIS JUST IN ( Top )
(1) 'BONG HITS 4 JESUS' CASE FINALLY SETTLED
Pubdate: Thu, 6 Nov 2008
Source: Anchorage Daily News (AK)
Copyright: 2008 The Associated Press
$45,000: Juneau School District Will Pay Student It Suspended.
JUNEAU -- The seven-year Bong Hits 4 Jesus saga appears to be over.
In a free speech case that reached the nation's highest court, the Juneau-Douglas School District and former student Joseph Frederick have reached a settlement.
Frederick was suspended during a 2002 Olympic torch relay for holding up a banner that read "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" while standing across from the high school.
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the school's position that Frederick celebrated the illegal use of drugs. The district will pay Frederick $45,000. In exchange Frederick will drop remaining claims not heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.
"We're really happy to have this one resolved," School Board President Mark Choate said. "Every case involves different opinions, but we're pleased to have it resolved so we can focus more on the important work the board has to do to improve schools in Juneau."
Frederick's Juneau-based attorney Douglas Mertz says the settlement essentially brings an end to the case as far as his client sees it.
(2) RECORD OPIUM HARVEST IN AFGHANISTAN THREATENS NEW HEROIN CRISIS ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 07 Nov 2008
Source: Guardian, The (UK)
Copyright: 2008 Guardian Newspapers Limited
Author: Alan Travis
- EU agency fears glut and reversal of deaths decline.
- UK tops cocaine abuse table for fifth year in row.
A glut of opium on the world market, fuelled by a record Afghan harvest, threatens a new heroin crisis in Britain, the European Union's drug agency warned yesterday. The agency's annual report also confirms that the UK remains at the top of the European league table of 27 countries for cocaine abuse for the fifth year in a row. The UK accounts for 820,000 of the 4 million Europeans who have "recently used" cocaine.
But the agency also reports that there are "stronger signals" of the declining popularity of cannabis across Europe, especially among British school students.
Nevertheless the drug experts say that a quarter of all Europeans - 71 million people - have tried cannabis at some time in their lives.
(3) MAN TELLS GRAND JURY POLICE BEAT, SODOMIZED HIM ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 7 Nov 2008
Source: Newsday (NY)
Copyright: 2008 Newsday Inc.
Author: Pervaiz Shallwani, Special to Newsday
Michael Mineo, the 24-year-old Brooklyn man who says he was beaten and sodomized by police officers on a subway platform, recounted his story to a grand jury yesterday, then told reporters he is glad his allegations are being taken seriously.
"I was violated by police and I feel like they are going to be brought to justice," Mineo said. "At first I felt like people weren't even believing me. Now that things have come into the light, I feel a little bit more better. I know that these cops are going to be brought to justice.
"That's what I want," he said.
Mineo, who walks with a cane since the Oct. 15 incident, spoke outside State Supreme Court in Brooklyn after testifying for about a half-hour before the investigative grand jury that will decide whether to indict the four officers involved in subduing him at the Prospect Park station, in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens.
The four have been placed on modified duty, meaning their guns and shields were taken away and they were confined to a desk. An attorney for the officers declined to comment.
The NYPD said Mineo was smoking marijuana outside the station, then fled inside when police approached. He was caught and issued a summons for disorderly conduct after eating the marijuana cigarette, police said. Mineo claims he was assaulted, with police using a radio to sodomize him.
(4) MARIJUANA ACTIVIST'S LEGAL APPEAL REJECTED ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 6 Nov 2008
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2008 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Richard Cuthbertson, Calgary Herald
The Alberta Court of Appeal has rejected the bid of a Calgary marijuana activist seeking to have his drug trafficking charges stayed.
Grant Krieger was looking for a constitutional exemption Wednesday from his marijuana trafficking conviction, arguing his actions were protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Krieger has admitted he sent two packages of marijuana to Manitoba in 2003 and 2004, but has argued he was supplying it to sick people for medical purposes.
At Krieger's 2006 trial, it was argued it was too difficult for some ill people to obtain an exemption to use the drug under the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations -- doctors were reluctant to sign-off on the treatment due to insurance concerns.
Krieger's lawyer, John Hooker, argued Wednesday the trial judge made a mistake.
Hooker told the court of appeal that the law isn't perfect, and "if we follow it blindly, sometimes great injustices arise."
He said Krieger was simply stepping in to fulfil a need.
However, after retiring for only a few minutes, the court of appeal ruled against Krieger.
WEEKLY NEWS IN REVIEW ( Top )
Domestic News- Policy
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Marijuana reform supporters celebrate victories ( as detailed in the
Cannabis section below ), but elsewhere the drug war drags on. In
Louisiana, civil libertarians are upset over a proposal to drug test
all public employees, but supporters of the measure say they aren't
backing down. In the U.K. the news about the drug war looks
disappointing, thanks to a blogger who actually dissected the
government spin suggesting things were improving. At the same time
in the UK, you now may be tested for drugs before entering a pub.
And, in Oregon, it's hard to enter certain chamber of commerce
events if you hold politically incorrect views regarding cannabis.
Marijuana reform supporters celebrate victories ( as detailed in the Cannabis section below ), but elsewhere the drug war drags on. In Louisiana, civil libertarians are upset over a proposal to drug test all public employees, but supporters of the measure say they aren't backing down. In the U.K. the news about the drug war looks disappointing, thanks to a blogger who actually dissected the government spin suggesting things were improving. At the same time in the UK, you now may be tested for drugs before entering a pub. And, in Oregon, it's hard to enter certain chamber of commerce events if you hold politically incorrect views regarding cannabis.
(5) DRUG TEST PROPOSAL PROMPTS THREAT OF ACLU LAWSUIT ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 01 Nov 2008
Source: Courier, The (LA)
Copyright: 2008 Houma Today
Author: Ben Lundin
THIBODAUX - Enactment of a law requiring drug testing of all Louisiana public employees would undoubtedly be met with a lawsuit, an official with the American Civil Liberties Union said.
Any such law would have to be approved by state legislators and signed by the Governor.
But it was a Lafourche Parish councilman who has floated the proposal, and wants the Parish Council to formally ask the legislature to act.
District 6 Councilman Lindel Toups' suggestion has -- in addition to inflaming the ACLU -- drawn the ire of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers.
Marjorie Esman, executive director of the ACLU's Louisiana branch, said in a Friday interview that such a law, if passed into law and then acted on by any local government -- would result in a suit.
"That don't scare me," Toups said. "I might be barking up the wrong tree, but I'm not going to slow down on it. If you don't want a drug test you got something to hide."
(6) LOSING THE WAR ON DRUGS ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 02 Nov 2008
Source: Spectator, The (UK)
Copyright: 2008 The Spectator
Author: Fraser Nelson
Are UK drugs seizures really going up? The Home Office said exactly this in a press release last week but closer inspection reveals the most extraordinary statistical manipulation, rumbled by my colleague at the Centre for Policy Studies, Kathy Gyngell, who blogs on it here. Here's the scam. The Home Office boasts about "a record 186,028 drug seizures by police and HMRC. an increase of 15 per cent'". Clear enough. What purports to be a statistical bulletin makes the case further, showing the steady rise of seizures going back years plus a handy graph showing this triumphant, latent surge. But what about the amounts seized? Here is where one smells a rat. There is no graph, no historical data - in fact, not even a figure for the previous years. It simply states that 3.2 tonnes of heroin was seized.
One has to look up the Excel file to see what the Home Office is really up to, and get the real story. Quantities of Class A drugs being seized are plummeting in Britain, and the heroin and crack haul was the lowest since 1998. The number of seizures is going up because more users are having their tiny stash confiscated, while more dealers get away with it. The average size of the seizure has more than halved. As Jenny concludes on her blog:
"So why the deception and what is, or what is not, going on? Cocaine has flooded the streets of Britain, its consumption continues to rise here to the highest in Europe, it has become ever cheaper and more people are seen to use it with impunity. Anecdotal evidence tells us that there is so much heroin around it is being re exported out of the country. One conclusion may be that the figures have been spun to disguise massive incompetence, a crisis at the heart of SOCA our major enforcement agency and a breakdown of enforcement at all levels."
(7) DRUG-DETECTOR TRIAL HAILED SUCCESS ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 3 Nov 2008
Source: Press and Journal, The (UK)
Copyright: 2008 Aberdeen Journals Ltd
Operation Using Hand-Scanning Device Leads to Two Arrests Outside Participating City Venues
Calls have been made for pioneering drug-detection equipment to be introduced permanently, after a trial in which over 750 people were tested for illegal substances at the weekend.
Police in Aberdeen tested hundreds of people entering pubs and clubs using a machine which can tell within seconds if a person has been in contact with illegal drugs.
The Itemiser machine, which was on loan from the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency ( SCDEA ), allowed officers to swab people's hands and analyse the results using similar technology to that used to find explosives at airports.
Police said the device found that a 26-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman were in possession of class A drugs and both have been reported to the procurator fiscal.
The operation was hailed a success by the Grampian Joint Police Board - - who want to see the equipment used on a permanent basis.
(8) GROUP DENIED ENTRANCE TO ALBANY CHAMBER EVENT ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 3 Nov 2008
Source: Dalles Chronicle, The (OR)
Copyright: 2008 Eagle Newspapers Inc.
Author: Kathy Gray, of The Chronicle
Chamber Group Accepted Money, Then Turned Them Away From Meeting
Local marijuana advocate Sandee Burbank got the bum's rush at an event described as a drug-free workplace forum.
Burbank, who lives in rural The Dalles, founded Mothers Against Misuse and Abuse ( MAMA ) 26 years ago and chairs the state's Advisory Committee on Medical Marijuana in the Department of Human Services, described the Workplace Legislative Work Group as a "moral crusade" against Oregon's Medical Marijuana Act, which was approved by voters 10 years ago this month. MAMA operates a medical marijuana clinic in Portland.
According to a report in the Corvallis Gazette-Times, Burbank and a handful of medical marijuana advocates have attended or tried to attend several of the group's presentations to challenge what they describe as distorted claims about medicinal pot.
She and other members registered and paid for an Oct. 23 forum in Albany, but were turned away at the door by chamber of commerce members.
"What was really disturbing, more than anything, was that we'd driven all the way to Albany, spent the night, paid ahead of time and were told it wasn't a problem that we weren't chamber members," Burbank told The Chronicle Oct. 30. "We even paid an extra $10 because we weren't. They were so hateful. That contempt in their eyes was really disturbing. I haven't seen that in a long time _ since the early '80s."
Law Enforcement & Prisons
COMMENTS: ( Top )
More injustice in the U.S. and more repercussions from the
intensifying Mexican drug war: It's boom time for funeral parlours
near the border, but tough times for reporters who think drug
traffickers can be judged by their looks.
More injustice in the U.S. and more repercussions from the intensifying Mexican drug war: It's boom time for funeral parlours near the border, but tough times for reporters who think drug traffickers can be judged by their looks.
(9) DRUGGED DRIVING LAW IS TOUGH -- AND UNFAIR, SOME SAY ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 02 Nov 2008
Source: Wisconsin State Journal (WI)
Copyright: 2008 Madison Newspapers, Inc.
Author: Ed Treleven
On Tuesday, more than nine months after a crash on a snowy highway that killed his fiancee, John H. Harrison Jr. will likely become the first person in Dane County to be convicted of a drugged driving homicide.
The law under which the 18-year-old man was charged in May, five months after the death of Courtney Kuenzi-Kessenich, 17, was itself born from tragedy in 2003.
But some lawyers contend the law is unfair because it says that finding even the slightest detectable amount of a drug that could impair driving is enough to prove a driver is guilty of driving under the influence, the same as a driver caught driving with too much alcohol in the blood.
"Defendants don't understand it," said Assistant Public Defender Dennis Burke, who is Harrison's attorney. "They think they have to prove that they were impaired."
Instead, under Wisconsin's drugged driving law, called the Baby Luke Law, police don't have to prove that a driver was impaired by drugs in the bloodstream. And if, as in Harrison's case, a death is involved, the driver can be charged with homicide by drugged driving.
(10) TPD: BUYING GUN WAS HOFFMAN'S IDEA ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 02 Nov 2008
Source: Tallahassee Democrat (FL)
Copyright: 2008 Tallahassee Democrat
Authors: Nic Corbett, And Jennifer Portman, Democrat Staff Writers
Transcripts Released In Investigation
It was Rachel Hoffman's idea to buy the handgun thought to have been used to kill her in May when a drug sting went bad, according to documents released Saturday by the Tallahassee Police Department.
That and other details are revealed in more than 500 pages of transcribed interviews conducted by TPD's internal-affairs investigators with the officers and Drug Enforcement Administration agents involved in the operation. Two of Hoffman's friends also were interviewed.
Included in the transcripts, which were used to compile a 199-page internal-affairs report made public in late September, is the full interview with former investigator Ryan Pender, Hoffman's main police contact.
His firing for violating nine department rules was announced the day the earlier report was released. Four more senior officers were suspended for two weeks without pay. Chief Dennis Jones and Deputy Chief John Proctor were reprimanded.
Pender said the 23-year-old Hoffman hoped that buying a gun would help satisfy the vague terms of her confidential-informant work so she could more quickly get out of Tallahassee and on with her life. Hoffman planned to go to culinary school, her friends have said.
(11) DRUG WARS BOOST INDUSTRY ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 02 Nov 2008
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Lizbeth Diaz, Reuters
Funeral Parlours See Increase In Clients, Offer Special Deals
TIJUANA -- Mexico's drug wars are fueling a boom in the funeral industry near the U.S. border as undertakers capitalize on soaring murder rates and gruesome killings.
As Mexicans gather in cemeteries today to place marigolds, candy skulls and candles on tombs for the Day of the Dead festival, a spike in drug violence means more bodies are bound for funeral parlours.
"We've seen a big increase in the number of clients because of the drug war, especially since September. It's gone from a few [bodies] a week to one or two every day," said Fernando, a funeral-home owner in Tijuana across the border from San Diego, Calif. He declined to give his last name.
About 4,000 people have been killed in Mexico this year as gangs vie for control of the cocaine trade amid a crackdown that has thousands of army troops battling drug cartels on their home turf.
Drug cartel hitmen have killed some 160 people in the past month in Tijuana, once a party town serving Americans tequila and sex that is being devastated by the war.
(12) IN MEXICO DRUG WAR, SORTING GOOD GUYS FROM BAD ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 2 Nov 2008
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2008 The New York Times Company
Author: Marc Lacey
MEXICO CITY -- Many of the mug shots of drug traffickers that appear in the Mexican press show surly looking roughnecks glaring menacingly at the camera. An anticorruption investigation unveiled last week in the Mexican capital, however, made it clear that not everybody enmeshed in the narcotics trade looks the part.
There was a gray-haired, grandfatherly type who was pushing 70, as well as an avuncular figure with a neatly coiffed goatee and wire-rimmed spectacles perched upon his nose. Some of the five men who found themselves on the front pages of newspapers on their way to jail, wore suits, which made them look more like bureaucrats than bad guys.
Among the greatest challenges in Mexico's drug war is the fact that the traffickers fit no type. Their ranks include men and women, the young and the old. And they can work anywhere: in remote drug labs, as part of roving assassination squads, even within the upper reaches of the government.
It has long been known that drug gangs have infiltrated local police forces. Now it is becoming ever more clear that the problem does not stop there. The alarming reality is that many public servants in Mexico are serving both the taxpayers and the traffickers.
Cannabis & Hemp-
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Michigan became the thirteenth state to regulate the physician-
supervised possession, cultivation and use of cannabis. Over 60
percent of Michigan voters endorsed Proposal 1.
In Massachusetts, 65 percent of voted "yes" on Question 2, which
reduces the penalty for cannabis possession to a fine.
Hawaii County made adult cannabis possession on private property their
lowest law enforcement priority. Fayetteville, Arkansas also voted 66
per cent in favor of instructing city police to make enforcement of
minor cannabis offenses a lower priority.
In England, a judge scolded a 63-year-old man for possessing an ounce
with intent to share, and for believing (quite rightly) that the herb
is "relatively harmless."
Michigan became the thirteenth state to regulate the physician- supervised possession, cultivation and use of cannabis. Over 60 percent of Michigan voters endorsed Proposal 1.
In Massachusetts, 65 percent of voted "yes" on Question 2, which reduces the penalty for cannabis possession to a fine.
Hawaii County made adult cannabis possession on private property their lowest law enforcement priority. Fayetteville, Arkansas also voted 66 per cent in favor of instructing city police to make enforcement of minor cannabis offenses a lower priority.
In England, a judge scolded a 63-year-old man for possessing an ounce with intent to share, and for believing (quite rightly) that the herb is "relatively harmless."
(13) VOTERS PASS PROPOSAL 1, SUPPORT LETTING SEVERELY ILL GROW OWN POT ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 5 Nov 2008
Source: Detroit Free Press (MI)
Copyright: 2008 Detroit Free Press
Author: Dawson Bell, Free Press Staff Writer
Michigan voters favored sanctioning the use of medical marijuana to treat debilitating illness Tuesday, apparently rejecting arguments that doing so would increase crime and juvenile drug use. Advertisement
The marijuana measure, Proposal 1, led 63% to 37%, with 87% precincts tallied early this morning. The vote was 2,566,783 in favor to 1,526,477 against.
When it goes into effect -- 10 days after the vote is certified later this month -- patients suffering from cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS and other conditions can be authorized to cultivate, possess and use marijuana without fear of prosecution under state law.
Michigan becomes the 13th state to approve medical marijuana, meaning that one in four Americans will live in a place where the use of the herb for medical purposes will be legal, according to advocates for legalization.
Bruce Mirken, communications director at the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C., said Tuesday evening he was optimistic about the prospects for Proposal 1 but not quite ready to declare victory.
Bill Schuette, a Michigan Court of Appeals judge who was cochairman of the anti-Proposal 1 campaign, said, "I think we waged a good fight. I think we had a good argument. It just looks like we came up short."
"The opposing argument was so blatantly dishonest, we hoped voters would see through it. And it appears they did," Mirken said.
(14) OFFICIALS LOOK FOR GUIDELINES ON MARIJUANA INITIATIVE ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 6 Nov 2008
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Copyright: 2008 Globe Newspaper Company
Author: David Abel, Globe Staff
How will a police officer know whether someone is carrying more than an ounce of marijuana?
Will those caught smoking it present sufficient probable cause for an officer to search them or their car?
How will officers cite people for possessing small amounts of marijuana, and will there be an appeals process?
A day after voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, law enforcement officials around the state wondered how they would implement the new law and how it would change their work.
"This is certainly going to make the work of many police officers a lot more complicated," said Wayne Sampson, executive director of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association. "We're going to need guidance from the attorney general and district attorneys. There are a lot of things to work out."
The passage of Question 2 will make getting caught with less than an ounce of pot punishable by a civil fine of $100. It also means the offense will no longer be reported to the state's criminal history board. The law will require those younger than 18 to complete a drug awareness program and community service, and for those who don't, the fine will increase to as much as $1,000.
Lawmakers could also seek to amend or repeal the new law, but that does not appear likely, given that 65 percent of voters approved the proposition.
"The voters have voted," Governor Deval Patrick said at a press conference. He directed Public Safety and Security Secretary Kevin Burke "to confer with the attorney general and district attorneys on what the implications are for implementation."
Afterward, Joe Landolfi, a spokesman for Patrick, said there are no plans to try to repeal the law. Spokesmen for Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi added that they have not heard of any effort to block the initiative from becoming law.
But police and prosecutors - most of whom opposed the proposition because, they contended, it would send the wrong message and boost crime - said they will have to reexamine a range of standard operating procedures.
(15) PLANNING COMMISSIONS AND MARIJUANA INITIATIVES PASS ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 5 Nov 2008
Source: West Hawaii Today (HI)
Copyright: 2008 West Hawaii Today
Author: Bobby Command
Big Island voters have decided it would be best to have two planning commissions and to put the war against marijuana on the back burner.
Four of the five Hawaii County ballot initiatives passed Tuesday night, with one -- the creation of the Office of the Legislative Auditor -- heading toward approval with a lead of 342 votes following the third printout and only a few hundred mail-in votes remaining to be counted.
The amendment of the Hawaii County Code regarding marijuana enforcement passed 34,957 to 25,464, or 53 percent to 39 percent.
Big Island voters have directed police to put a low priority on the enforcement of federal drug laws against adults when the person using marijuana is 21 or older and on their own property.
According to the amendment, the county is also prohibited from accepting deputizations or commissions from a federal law enforcement agency for investigating, citing or arresting adults using marijuana on their own property for personal, religious or medicinal purposes.
The new law also directs the council not to support the acceptance of funds for marijuana eradication.
Supporters said during the campaign that less emphasis on marijuana would leave the police with more time to enforce laws regarding crystal methamphetamine.
However, Police Chief Lawrence Mahuna said it is rare that someone arrested solely for a marijuana offense possesses small amounts of the drug. While he was police chief, James Correa also told the County Council that police already placed such crimes on low priority.
(16) JUDGE'S ANGER OVER CASUAL ATTITUDE TO CANNABIS ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 05 Nov 2008
Source: Blackpool Gazette, The (UK)
Copyright: 2008, Gazette & Herald Ltd
Author: Paul Fielding
A Judge has sounded a warning on the dangers of cannabis use and the damage it can cause.
Judge Christopher Cornwall made his comments while sentencing a Fylde coast man caught with 30g of the drug at his home.
Paul Hadgraft was described as a regular cannabis user who believed the drug had a calming effect.
His intention had been to supply the drug to fellow users.
But at Preston Crown Court, the judge told him: "You, as best as I can tell, regard cannabis as relatively harmless and think it is acceptable to use it as recreational activity.
"The truth is, it is a dangerous drug, that does untold damage and is doing untold damage to you.
"That is damage which will only get worse if you continue to use the drug."
Hadgraft, 26, was arrested after police searched his home on Martindale Avenue, Fleetwood, in January.
He pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply.
Hadgraft was given a sentence of 26 weeks prison, suspended for 18 months, with 18 months supervision.
The judge also told him: "You are a regular user of cannabis and have been for some time.
"It is a drug that is capable of completely distorting a person's thinking.
"Yours is completely distorted.
"It causes immense concern in the community, for the other decent people who have to live in close contact with people who are using, abusing and supplying this drug."
COMMENTS: ( Top )
In Thailand this week, it feels like a bad case of deja vu as
premier Somchai Wongsawat (brother-in-law of ousted prime minister
Thaksin Shinawatra) loudly proclaims a 90-day open season on drug
users. Thaksin, ousted in a coup in 2006, was infamous for inciting
police to commit thousands of "extralegal" executions of drug
suspects in Thailand in 2002 and 2003. "In the next 90 days the
government will reduce the number of drug users and will intercept
drugs from entering Thailand, but there will be no extra-judicial
killings," said Somchai this week. Given that Thai police denied
committing murders of drug suspects last time around, assurances
that it won't happen again, aren't likely to be believed.
Another round in the row between Bolivia and the U.S. over drug
policy last week, as Bolivia ordered U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency
personnel out of the South American nation. "There were DEA agents
who worked to conduct political espionage and to fund criminal
groups so they could launch attacks on the lives of authorities, if
not the president," charged Bolivian president Morales. "We are
obligated to defend Bolivian sovereignty." The move follows a
similar expulsion of the DEA from Venezuela in 2005.
In the Scotsman newspaper this week, director of the UN Office on
Drugs and Crime, Antonio Maria Costa, was given space to lump
together MDMA with meth, and to scare readers with the possibility
that youth in the developing world "may soon be facing a similar
epidemic of drug abuse." The answer, according to Costa, is not
legalization (which he did not mention), but instead more
"resources" (read: police power and money), because bad things will
happen "unless more attention and resources are devoted to
prevention, treatment and law enforcement".
And from Uganda this week: a plea that chicken farmers there be
allowed to grow marijuana, which is apparently "one of the leading
herbs used in treating chicken." In a paper written by Dr. Rebecca
Nalubega from the Makerere University veterinary department, she
asks, "Why [can't government] help poultry farmers growing marijuana
since they don't use it for human consumption?"
In Thailand this week, it feels like a bad case of deja vu as premier Somchai Wongsawat (brother-in-law of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra) loudly proclaims a 90-day open season on drug users. Thaksin, ousted in a coup in 2006, was infamous for inciting police to commit thousands of "extralegal" executions of drug suspects in Thailand in 2002 and 2003. "In the next 90 days the government will reduce the number of drug users and will intercept drugs from entering Thailand, but there will be no extra-judicial killings," said Somchai this week. Given that Thai police denied committing murders of drug suspects last time around, assurances that it won't happen again, aren't likely to be believed.
Another round in the row between Bolivia and the U.S. over drug policy last week, as Bolivia ordered U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency personnel out of the South American nation. "There were DEA agents who worked to conduct political espionage and to fund criminal groups so they could launch attacks on the lives of authorities, if not the president," charged Bolivian president Morales. "We are obligated to defend Bolivian sovereignty." The move follows a similar expulsion of the DEA from Venezuela in 2005.
In the Scotsman newspaper this week, director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Antonio Maria Costa, was given space to lump together MDMA with meth, and to scare readers with the possibility that youth in the developing world "may soon be facing a similar epidemic of drug abuse." The answer, according to Costa, is not legalization (which he did not mention), but instead more "resources" (read: police power and money), because bad things will happen "unless more attention and resources are devoted to prevention, treatment and law enforcement".
And from Uganda this week: a plea that chicken farmers there be allowed to grow marijuana, which is apparently "one of the leading herbs used in treating chicken." In a paper written by Dr. Rebecca Nalubega from the Makerere University veterinary department, she asks, "Why [can't government] help poultry farmers growing marijuana since they don't use it for human consumption?"
(17) 90-DAY WAR ON DRUGS ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 05 Nov 2008
Source: Straits Times (Singapore)
Copyright: 2008 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd.
BANGKOK - THAILAND'S premier vowed on Thursday to step up an anti-narcotics campaign, and defended ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra against accusations that his drugs war was mired in extra-judicial killings.
Mr Somchai Wongsawat said he was launching a 90 day campaign aimed at reducing drug use and trafficking in an extension of a crackdown initially started by his brother-in-law Thaksin, who was ousted in a coup in 2006.
'In the next 90 days the government will reduce the number of drug users and will intercept drugs from entering Thailand, but there will be no extra-judicial killings', Mr Somchai told justice and police officials.
'Implementing extra-judicial killings to solve the drugs problem is absolutely banned,' he added.
Mr Thaksin launched his war on drugs in 2003, and human rights groups have said that at least 2,500 people were killed in extra-judicial killings during the campaign. Mr Somchai, however, said that Mr Thaksin was not responsible for the deaths.
(18) BOLIVIA HALTS U.S. AGENTS' ANTI-DRUG OPERATIONS ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 2 Nov 2008
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Los Angeles Times
Author: Patrick J. McDonnell
Bolivian President Evo Morales Accuses the DEA Employees of Spying and Helping Criminals to Attack Authorities.
Bolivian President Evo Morales suspended operations by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on Saturday after accusing the agency of aiding "criminal groups" that oppose his rule.
Morales' move was the latest sign of the deterioration in relations between his leftist government and Washington.
"There were DEA agents who worked to conduct political espionage and to fund criminal groups so they could launch attacks on the lives of authorities, if not the president," Morales told reporters during a visit to the Chapare region, a major production zone for coca plants, from which cocaine is extracted. "We are obligated to defend Bolivian sovereignty."
Bolivia is the world's third-largest producer of cocaine, after Colombia and Peru. A sizable DEA contingent has been working on interdiction in Bolivia for decades.
(19) GUEST COLUMN: ANTONIO MARIA COSTA ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 05 Nov 2008
Source: Scotsman (UK)
Copyright: 2008 The Scotsman Publications Ltd
Author: Antonio Maria Costa
Around the world, in order to enhance performance, people are popping pills and powder known as amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS). From ravers at all-night discos to assembly-line workers or long-haul truckers, more than 30 million people use amphetamine, methamphetamine (meth), or Ecstasy at least once a year - more than the combined number of those who take cocaine and heroin. The global market is estimated at $65 billion.
Before it is too late, countries in the developing world need to get their heads out of the sand. Many are in denial about the problem. The most vulnerable are ill-equipped to fight the pandemic through information gathering, regulatory frameworks, law enforcement, forensics, or health care.
Stabilisation of the problem in the developed world shows that containment is possible. But unless more attention and resources are devoted to prevention, treatment and law enforcement in youthful and increasingly affluent societies in the developing world, these countries may soon be facing a similar epidemic of drug abuse.
Antonio Maria Costa is executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
(20) 'LET POULTRY FARMERS GROW MARIJUANA' ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 29 Oct 2008
Source: New Vision (Uganda)
Copyright: 2008 New Vision
Author: Ali Mambule
Veterinary doctors from Makerere University have requested politicians to stop harassing poultry farmers for growing marijuana.
The doctors said the drug was one of the leading herbs used in treating chicken. Dr. Rebecca Nalubega from the university's veterinary department said local poultry farmers relied on the drug to treat their chicken.
Nalubega was presenting a paper about medicinal properties of herbs at Bwala social centre in Masaka town on Wednesday.
"It is good that we have politicians in this workshop. Why don't you help poultry farmers growing marijuana since they don't use it for human consumption?" Nalubega asked.
Teopista Mbabazi, the woman councillor for Kyazanga sub-county, objected to the request, saying a single plant of marijuana could be dangerous to the public.
"They told us there are over 60 herbs, which can be used in treating poultry. Why do they insist on marijuana?" she asked.
HOT OFF THE 'NET ( Top )
POT WINS IN A LANDSLIDE ( Top )
A Thundering Rejection of America's Longest War
By Rob Kampia
Voters dealt what may be a fatal blow to America's longest-running and least-discussed war -- the war on marijuana.
DRUG TESTING IN SCHOOLS: EVIDENCE, IMPACTS AND ALTERNATIVES ( Top )
The National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA) was commissioned by the Australian National Council on Drugs (ANCD) in March 2007 to undertake an independent, comprehensive and critical examination of all relevant issues involved in drug detection and screening in the school setting. The results of the review are presented in this report.
DRUG TRUTH NETWORK ( Top )
Century of Lies - 11/04/08 - Bruce Mirken
Bruce Mirken of Marijuana Policy Project discusses election day progress in the drug war, Adam Assenberg broadcaster, Poppygate Report with Glenn Greenway, Reports from Australia: ABC - "federal police commissioner Mick Keelty says Australia needs to find a better way than arresting drug users" + Nimbin Australia report on efforts to shut down hemp bar and museum.
Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 11/05/08 - John Walters
Drug Czar John Walters gives a speech at James A. Baker III Institute for Policy Studies at Rice University + Terry Nelson reports for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
MORNING-AFTER QUESTION ( Top )
Who will be the Obama Administration's drug policy appointees?
By Eric Sterling
2008 NORML CONFERENCE VIDEOS, PHOTOS AND MEMORABILIA ( Top )
If you were not able to attend the 37th annual conference a few weeks ago in Berkeley, you can now view videos, photos and purchase conference memorabilia at:
PLAN COLOMBIA ( Top )
U.S. Government Accounting Office
Drug Reduction Goals Were Not Fully Met, but Security Has Improved; U.S. Agencies Need More Detailed Plans for Reducing Assistance
WHAT YOU CAN DO THIS WEEK ( Top )
HELP FIND PAIN PATIENTS WILLING TO TRY CANNABIS ( Top )
MAPS supporters are urged to actively help recruit subjects for Dr. Abrams National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded study of vaporized marijuana in patients who are using OxyContin for pain. MAPS is supporting this study by paying for travel and lodging for participants who live outside of the San Francisco Bay area.
Supporters can help by downloading flyers (PDF) and posting them at facilities such as medical marijuana dispensaries, and pain management centers.
If you would like more information about how you can help us recruit patients for this study, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
LETTER OF THE WEEK ( Top )
NO PROHIBITION ( Top )
By Curt Wagoner
To the editor:
It seems contradictory for the same people who claim to be 'anti-crime fighters' to support the prohibitionist drug policies that create the crime in the first place.
Substance prohibition hasn't worked since Adam and Eve took a bite of the forbidden fruit. In 1500 Greece the penalty for coffee possession was death. Prohibition has always caused a rise in property crime, violence, corruption, gangs, disease and death.
Albert Einstein wrote regarding alcohol prohibition in 1921, "The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase in crime in this country is closely connected with this."
Thanks to the prohibitionist, the United States now has the largest prison system on the planet. We're filling those prisons at a rate faster than any nation on earth and at a cost that is absolutely mind-boggling.
The group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, ( L.E.A.P. ), with nearly ten thousand members, sees the drug war for what it is -- Prohibition. According to their website ( www.leap.cc ), the U.S. spends $69 billion a year fighting the drug war.
$1.3 billion every week and for what? We build brand new state of the art prisons like the one in Madras, dubbed 'The Drug User Concentration Camp', while our outdated schools are literally crumbling apart. That's $5.75 billion a month for a policy that has a history of failure and for creating crime and violence.
Police Captain Peter Christ ( ret. ), L.E.A.P. cofounder, "Drug legalization is not to be construed as an approach to our drug problem. Drug legalization is about our crime and violence problem. Once we legalize drugs we've got to then buckle down and start dealing with our drug problem, and that's not going to be easy but, it's something we can do. Fifty per cent of the adult cigarette smokers in this society have quit in the past ten years. That's an amazing success story when you talk about the most addictive drug we know of -- nicotine. How did we accomplish this amazing success story? Through education."
Supporting prohibition and calling oneself anti-crime is a contradiction. A true anti-crime fighter would be an anti-prohibitionist. Honestly, just because drugs are bad it doesn't mean prohibition is good.
Curt Wagoner Mosier
Pubdate: Thu, 23 Oct 2008
Source: Dalles Chronicle, The (OR)
FEATURE ARTICLE ( Top )
Where Do We Go From Here, Politically? ( Top )
By Pete Guither
OK, we have a new President, probably a new direction, lots of new possibilities (and also the possibility that nothing will change).
Putting aside temporarily my usual mantra that our efforts must be to motivate the people rather than count on politicians...
What's going to happen? When? How can we have input?
First, here's what's not going to happen:
* Day One: President Obama, with a stroke of his pen, removed marijuana from the Controlled Substances Scheduling completely, saying "If the states want to waste their time and money arresting people over a plant, that's their problem. The federal government has no interest here."
* Day Two: The Drug Enforcement Administration was gutted today... Well, you get the idea.
Here's what conceivably might happen relatively early, but if so, fairly quietly. The DEA might simply stop conducting medical marijuana raids. Since that's a sporadic activity, it could take some time before some bright person in the press asked about it. At that point, some low-level functionary would be tasked to respond with something like:
"Marijuana is illegal under federal law. There are no exceptions for so-called medical marijuana, and we will arrest those who break the law. At this time we have simply had higher priorities for our drug enforcement agents."
And the message would quietly go to the states that as long as medical marijuana programs stayed low profile, there would be no federal presence.
I consider that scenario (or something similar) to actually be quite likely.
So, what about further reform? And what about the drug czar?
A must-read is Eric Sterling's post: Morning-after Question: "Who will be the Obama Administration's drug policy appointees?" ( see http://drugsense.org/url/lf7ZNMHj ). Eric knows how things work in putting together an administration's team, and I think he's right on the money in two areas in particular -- one, on when policy changes might occur:
"Selecting appointees is a higher priority than making any policy decisions. First, it is easier for the media to count up 'unfilled' positions and blame the new Administration for being 'slow' to fill vacancies. Second, because few policy changes are without political costs, most changes will require extensive preparation of the public. The possible exceptions might be medical marijuana and sterile syringe exchange which have large public support."
Hence the notion of a quiet move toward relaxing medical marijuana-fighting efforts.
Second, Eric notes that we shouldn't expect a new Drug Czar very soon.
"I would not be looking for an announcement of a nominee to be the ONDCP director until the Spring. DEA can operate with an acting director, likely to be a career DEA manager, for a long time, as can NIDA. The decision of DEA Administrator won't come before a new Attorney General has time to orient himself or herself."
In 2001, George W. Bush didn't appoint Walters until May and he wasn't sworn in until December. Asa Hutchinson wasn't head of the DEA until August.
So we probably have a little time. Eventually, though, President Obama is going to have to act on an appointment -- it's probably unlikely that the ONDCP will be eliminated -- there will be political pressure to keep it going.
But here's the problem: As most of you know, the Congressional authorization and mandates for the ONDCP demand that whoever is in that position lie to the people and work to make federal drug policy as harmful to our country as possible.
So, to put someone good in there, Obama would have to completely flout Congressional legislation, which is unlikely. While Bush would be less likely to have a problem with it if it matched his desires, Obama seems to be pushing for coalition building, and would be hesitant to give ammunition to opponents (he's probably also thinking hard about Clinton's aborted, rushed effort at health care reform when he had a full Democratic Congress).
So what can be done?
Perhaps we can work on Congress to modify the ONDCP authorization prior to 2010.
What if we all contact our Senators and Representatives and say:
The office of the Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy has been a disaster for these past 8 years, and we can't afford more of the same. Our new President needs your help if he's going to find someone who can really do something good for our country.
* Change the ONDCP authorization so that the Drug Czar is no longer required or encouraged to lie to American citizens.
* Change the measurement criteria for federal drug policy from meaningless slight fluctuations in drug use, to the clear reduction of drug-related harm and drug-war-related harm. Please help President Obama appoint someone who can do some good for this country, by changing outdated and wholly inappropriate guidelines for the ONDCP Director position.
I don't know. Could we do it? If such a movement became known to President Obama, would it make him more likely to consider a non-hardline drug warrior?
Pete Guither is the author of Drug WarRant, http:/www.drugwarrant.com a weblog at the front lines of the drug war, where this piece was first presented.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK ( Top )
"Men's natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them" - Confucius
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